This dreamy Foothills family session by Denise, a Boise Family Photographer, was to die for! Between the light, the outfits, and the chunky baby rolls, it couldn’t get much better. Also, this family is just too cute and they were the perfect combination of fun, happy, and affectionate.
First of all, great family photos don’t just happen. They are well planned and calculated. One might look at this Boise Foothills Family Session and say, “well they are just a really cute family, that’s why these look great.” Wrong. Yes, they are very cute but let me teach you about some of the things they did right to make their family photos absolutely gorgeous!
1. Choosing a great location
As a Boise family photographer, I play a big part in choosing a location. I know what backgrounds and lighting will mesh best with my photography style and give an overall light, bright, airy, and whimsical look. One thing I have implemented in the past few years is utilizing Pinterest. Typically, I will have my clients send me inspiration images from Pinterest or Instagram so I can get a sense of their overall vision. I mean, these photos will be hanging on their walls, not mine. After that, I make suggestions based on their vision.
The Military Reserve is one of my favorite locations in Boise. It is in the Boise Foothills and sets the stage for absolutely dreamy images. No matter what time of day, or year for that matter, the light is always well filtered through the trees and there is plenty of shade to take advantage of. As a rule, shade is a photographer’s best friend on a sunny day.
2. Choosing the RIGHT family photographer
Alright, before you go rolling your eyes, let me explain. Obviously there are a multitude of photography styles out there; light and airy (that’s me), dark and moody, warm, vibrant, etc. Therefore, it is important to choose a photographer that fits they style that you love. Now, that can be hard to decide. How would one learn what their preferred photography style is?
Admittedly, I didn’t understand this until a few years ago when I finally bit the bullet and hired a family photographer for my own family photos. First, I started with Pinterest and just started pinning things that caught my eye and images that made my heart skip a little beat. Secondly, I moved to Instagram, searching #boisefamilyphotographer and saved any, again, that caught my eye. Finally I started noticing that the images were pretty similar in style. Also, I noticed that the images that I liked were mainly posted by the same photographer. Boom, hired.
Finally, what you gravitate toward will be what you are ultimately most satisfied with. Therefore, you should hire a family photographer who fits your style.
3. Choosing the right outfits for great photos
Undoubtedly outfits can make the difference in the final images between ok, good, and great. Here are a few things to consider when looking for amazing outfits; colors, textures and patterns, and accessories.
First and foremost, the mom/wife should always choose a flattering outfit that she feels comfortable in first and the rest of the family can build around her outfit. Furthermore, you will never regret dressing up for your family photo session. Wear a dress and heels and put him in a button up with killer shoes.
Colors are important. For example, a light and airy photographer will always create the most authentically edited and gorgeous images if the outfit colors follow light and airy guidelines. As a rule, I typically ask clients to avoid reds, oranges, yellows, because I want to make skin tones look creamy and those colors alter a bit when I’m adjusting for the skin. Also, really dark colors such as black and dark gem tones (dark purple, teal, etc) don’t always mesh with my style. Those colors fit more into a dark and moody style. In comparison, I recommend pinks, mauve, white, creams, light blues, sage, and lilacs. You can find more examples here!
Textures and Patterns
In addition, the more textures the better! I will always put my husband in a crushed linen for photos before a cotton tee. In most cases you can search for terms such as ribbed, scalloped, flowy, rouched, ruffled, etc. Patterns are also good, as long as we aren’t mixing more than one commanding pattern. For example, if the wife is wearing a floral pattern it is totally ok for the husband to wear stripes as long as the two striped colors are very close in color (white and a very light grey).
Lastly, accessorize! Bring hats, vests, cardigans, bows, necklaces, bracelets, etc. Also, shoes are important! Nothing will ruin the overall look of a photo more than an 8 year old in lime green running shoes. Family photos are an investment, make it worthwhile!
4. Prepping the kids for family photography
Generally, in order for a child to cooperate in family photos, they need to be fed and they need to have had a nap. That’s a given. Also, bring snacks, water, and (wait for it) their favorite candy! No 2 year old wants to do what you want them to do. But most of them want candy and will stand in place for 10 seconds anticipating the glorious sugar that’s about to ignite their mouths. Trust me. Once, the only thing that got a 2 year old to do anything other than scream was M&M’s (and I am pretty good at animation, redirection, etc).
Subsequently, get there early. Don’t put your child’s clothes on until you arrive. Sometimes, it’s best to wait until arrival to put mom and dad’s clothes on too so that the dress and shirts doesn’t wrinkle from the seat belts (it’s a common problem).
Above all, have fun and let your kids have fun too. They need to actually enjoy what is going on. Most kids 3 and older will enjoy exploring and that is usually ok! Some of the best images I have ever gotten during family photos is when a kid is looking in the trees for a bird or they are showing off their superman skills. Let them be kids and please don’t yell at them! I promise it will be ok even if the kiddos are not standing perfectly still and smiling for 1 hour straight.
5. Trust your family photographer
Overall, if you have vetted your photographer and like the images that they have already produced (colors, style, posing, candids), then you can trust them and follow their lead. I would say this is most important in directing the kids. Sometimes kids will respond better to a photographer when that photographer is attempting to build rapport with them than mom who is “telling them what to do”.
As a Pediatric Occupational Therapist (and a Boise family photographer) I have learned all sorts of techniques to get kids to engage at the task at hand. This includes everything from redirection, enticement, giving them choices, using rewards, and following their lead (the list could go on and on). The images that you see below did not result from force and consequences but flexibility and creativity.
The gist is, prepare well, plan properly, and have a lot of fun. Those ingredients will make for some incredible family photos and leave you smiling every time you pass those images in your home.
Article written, and photos taken, by Denise Anderson, a Boise family photographer. Denise and Bryan also specialize in Boise Wedding Photography as well.